Contributed by Patrick Neary
There is something lurking in the background. Its nonchalance cannot be outdone; its importance to our existence is immense. It is the path cut out for you in the woods, and it is the troll waiting to stop you when you stray from the trail. It is Math, and it is out there shaping the world around you.
When I was a freshman in college, I had this idea that my professors knew something that they weren’t telling me–that on the day of my graduation they would come up and say, “Do you see [this] now?” In a way, they kind of did. I realize, of course, that it wasn’t one short concise thing that they could relate in a sentence. It was four years of mathematics. It was the way they showed me how to think. It was the way they taught me how math comes together as you move further into it. It was the beauty of the structure.
I see the world differently than before. Granted, I still envision a troll in the woods when I think about math, but now I know that there are hundreds–no, thousands–of trolls out in those mental woods. I know that I could continue to study mathematics for the rest of my days and still not know all there is to know. I wonder what I will see after another four years.
So many people turn away from mathematics because of a poor experience or because they have to work a little harder at it. I think we should all strive to change that, because math ROCKS. Come check out the trolls, people–they’re freakin’ delightful!
I wish for everyone to see what I see.